12 JULY 1890, Page 24

Dictionary of National Biography. VoL XXII. (Smith and Elder.)—We are

glad to see the name of Mr. Sidney Lee associated with that of Mr. Leslie Stephen in the editorship of the Dictionary. Mr. Lee has long been known to readers of the Dictionary as one of its most able and learned contributors. Prosperity to the new partnership, and long life ! If we are to judge from the analogy of "Chalmers," the Dictionary should be completed in about twenty-three volumes more. But "Chalmers" is less full in the later than in the earlier volumes ; and perhaps it would be safe to suppose that the total will be fifty, and the date of completion 1897. In the volume now before us, Gordons, Grahams, and Grants occupy a large space. There are eighty of the first name, forty-one of the second (not including a Graham-Gilbert and two Grahames), and forty-eight of the third. "Charles George Gordon" has been done, and well done, by Colonel Veitch. No one could be more self-restrained in praise and blame. The next best-known Gordon is perhaps the notorious Lord George, "agitator." He has had the honour of being treated by the senior editor. Why do we not find the name of the Gordon who has been called the "Christian Faquir," a very notable person, who deserves mention certainly as much as half of the eighty ? The omission is the less excusable as an excellent biography of the man has been published. There are two notable Grahams, Montrose and Claver- house. Dr. S. R. Gardiner has compressed his account of the first into four pages, while Mr. T. F. Henderson gives fifteen to the second. This is scarcely in proportion ; but one has to con- sider that some matters that have been made the subject of much controversy have to be dealt with by the biographer of Claver- house. Mr. Henderson, we see, is inclined to give a verdict of "Not proven" in the case of the two women who were drowned in the Solway Firth (the contention that the execution never took place is justly scouted), and of "Guilty" in that of John Brown, "the Christian carrier." Claverhouse seems to have shot John Brown with his own hand. Perhaps the right or wrong of this is only a matter of sentiment. But his conduct with regard to the nephew is certainly "less irreproachable." He induced the man to make confession by promising to plead for him, and his pleading was this : "If your Grace thinks he deserves no mercy, justice will pass on him." Another notable Graham is Sir James, who was a leading "Peelite." Professor Creighton gives an excel- lent sketch of him, summed up with the words : "Where he failed, he failed not through want of foresight or political intelligence, but through want of sympathy." From among the other notices, we may select for mention the Rev. W. Hunt's sketch of Earl Godwin, and the senior editor's biography of the elder William Godwin, a most unlovely figure as he appears in the pitilessly plain outlines of Mr. Stephen's portraiture. We must also mention the excellent account of Goldsmith from the same pen.